Does the fusion of your two cultures give your writing a distinctive identity?

Some of my poetry is about the past, some of it is about living in the UK, it's about living between two cultures, between two places, between two identities, about exile, if that is the right word to use. But, I think as writers our world, our writing keeps developing, our style develops, our subject matter develops, and as immigrant writers or as women writers or as ethnic minority writers, sometimes you are expected to write about certain things. This was one of the debates we were having when we started off Exiled Writers Inc, what does it mean to be a refugee writer? Does it mean to write about migration, about being a refugee? No, I personally believe it is just literature written by a refugee, and it could be about anything. A few years ago when we were organising a series of events called Across the Divide, across the Palestinian/Israeli divide, we were trying to bring together Israeli and Palestinian poets and writers to have a dialogue, and one of the Palestinian writers we invited said 'I now write about stones, shadows and trees, neutral subjects, the world, and if you expect me to come and read about Palestine, I don't want to do that anymore. I have done that; I don't want to do that.' I think that's a very good example of how people, writers, their writing world develops, their subject matter develops, their style changes, their language changes, and I think it is very important that that happens. It is very important not to be labelled, not to be expected to do the same thing all of your life, and not to expect that of yourself, either.


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